Seminar for Serbian Librarians and Archivists in Yad Vashem

a cooperation between Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem Libraries, Yad Vashem Archive, and Terraforming

Seminar for Archivists and Librarians from Serbia at Yad Vashem

4-11 December 2017, Yad Vashem, Israel

In cooperation between Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem Libraries, Yad Vashem Archive, and Terraforming, a training for archivists and librarians from Serbia was organized in Yad Vashem between 4-11 December 2017.

It was first of a kind training in many ways, most important unique element being exploring different ways of approaching this specific mixed group consisting of archivists and librarians.

The training program combined a professional development content adjusted more specifically for archivists or/and librarians, with the content that would introduce basic concepts of teaching and learning about the Holocaust.

Hands-on experience and opportunity to exchange directly with the colleagues

The participants from Serbia had an opportunity to learn more and exchange methodologies and best practices about various everyday tasks, challenges and solutions with the colleagues at different departments of Yad Vashem Libraries and Archives. All involved appreciated new reference points that can serve for evaluation of own abilities and standards.

Enabling new educational potentials

The other goal of the training was educational. It served to empower Serbian archivists and librarians

to better understand teaching and learning about the Holocaust in general, and the basics of the Yad Vashem educational philosophy in particular; and
to contribute to recognizing own potentials in creating and implementing educational and outreach programs based on their own materials and local history;

Richelle Budd Caplan, Director of the European Department of the International School for Holocaust Studies, and
Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

A year of preparation

The initial contact between the Yad Vashem Libraries and Terraforming in November 2016 was a starting point. Since then, the idea grew, and after a lots of Skype meetings and email exchanges between Terraforming and the colleagues from the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies, and internally between different departments of Yad Vashem, the training finally became a reality.

Serbian version of “How was it Humanly Possible” ready2print exhibition

Among other concrete outputs, there is a new Serbian version of the exhibition “How was it Humanly Possible”. It is one of the exhibitions in Yad Vashem ready2print series. Terraforming translated the exhibition in Serbian language during the preparation period in order to make it available for the training. The exhibition was presented and distributed to the participants, and will be further used and presented in Serbia during the coming follow-up activities.

Serbian translation of the exhibition

Our “Ester” in Yad Vashem

Among other lectures, the training program included a workshop held by Terraforming’s Misko Stanisic. Misko spoke about the great potentials in engaging libraries and archives in teaching and learning about the Holocaust. He presented Ester – a collection of illustrated novels and a teaching material, its most important part being a series of dramatized stories about the Jewish victims killed in the Camp at Sajmište in Belgrade. Among other resources, this material uses digitized and online-available archival materials of the National Library of Serbia and the Belgrade University Library.

Misko Stanisic, Terraforming
(photo: Jelena Djordjevic Perc, Zrenjanin City Library)

Terraforming’s vision and long-term activities with librarians and archivists

The training fitted into Terraforming’s long-term activities on empowering librarians and archivists to take a new role as multipliers in the fields of Holocaust education. Particularly in Serbia, Terraforming is continuously working on various activities involving libraries and archives with aim to create new opportunities for teaching and learning about the Holocaust and contribute a network-building among new stakeholders to further work on different outreach programs related to Jewish life, culture and history in local, regional and European context.

This vision developed by Terraforming has earned international attention after the International Holocaust remembrance Alliance IHRA awarded Terraforming with the annual Yehuda Bauer Grant for the concept of the International Library Platform for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust. Many elements of the training for Serbian librarians and archivists in Yad Vashem, its format and content, were tailored in a way that could serve to explore new ways of working with these target audiences, and that way contribute valuable findings to the awarded project about the International Library Platform for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust.

This is just a beginning…

Taking the training in Yad Vashem as the initial first step, Terraforming has prepared a series of activities in 2018 and 2019 for Serbian librarians and archivists. Among others, there will be workshops, visits, mentorship programs and exchanges in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the International Tracing Service ITS in Bad Arolsen, Memorial and Educational Site House of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin, Polin Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw, The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and other renowned international partners.

Varda Gross, Head of the Paper Conservation Laboratory

Thank you

Terraforming would like to thank Richelle, Rob, James, Emmanuelle, Sara and Masha, all the lecturers, guides and other colleagues at Yad Vashem for the great cooperation, hospitality, enthusiasm and dedication!

We would like to thank the Embassy of Israel in Serbia for the kind support provided to Terraforming in completion of this project.